Smart Amazon Sourcing: How to Build a Winning ASIN Team
Not having your star player on the field can hurt a lot. Take the 2015 Dallas Cowboys, when Tony Romo got hurt and America's team went 1-11 without him. Or that one time when your best selling ASIN was on backorder from your normally reliable supplier and you took a huge hit.
Being a great NFL team (or a great seller on the Amazon marketplace) means more than just having one or two superstars. It means building a team that is always ready to play when the big game comes around.
At the start of the 2016 season, the Patriots were without their star quarterback for the first four games, and many people expected them to be playing catch-up for the rest of the season. But a mastermind like Coach Bill Belichick was ready for it. As all eyes turn to football this week, here are a few lessons you can pick up from watching the man in the hoodie.
Build Pillars Around You
Belichick has had the same starting quarterback for 14 years. To start the 2016 season, there were eight players who had been with the team since July 2009 or earlier. His offensive coordinator has been with the club since 2001, and his defensive coordinator since 2004.
When it comes to your ASIN team, who are your cornerstones? Who do you think you can build a championship team around? Find those few products that will carry you for many seasons, if not years.
Know When to Let Someone Go
One thing you won't find around the NFL is a lot of ex-Patriot Pro Bowlers. Belichick and company always know when a player has reached his prime and isn't worth the salary anymore. There are countless examples of players who have either left or been released from the Patriots, and very few of them have found success outside of New England.
Even if it's hard to say goodbye to a few ASINs that aren't yet at the bottom of their game, a great seller will know ahead of time when a product has reached its prime and when it isn't worth the price a supplier is asking for it.
Buy Low, Sell High
Despite keeping many key players, the Patriots always have a lot of holes to fill at the start of the year. But rather than going out and acquiring big name players, they have largely replenished their roster through low draft picks and free agents. They focus on players who fit their system well and have a lot of potential to be great Patriot players, even if they might not have succeeded elsewhere. This year, 45% of the Patriots' players were drafted later than the 5th round, or not at all.
When you are looking for new ASINs, don't just focus on the ones with a high product rank. Focus on your domain of expertise and trust your instinct on what will provide strong profits in the coming months rather than what is hot right now.
Always Be Planning
At the start of the 2016 season, the Patriots were without Tom Brady for four games. They prepared well and built a solid team around a new starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, who led the team to victory in the first two games. But he was suddenly sidelined with an intense injury in Game 2. In an interview, Belichick said, "There’s always an element of team planning, especially at that position. If you can, you try to look ahead a little bit. If you can’t, then take it as it comes. Things change, but there’s an element of planning at all positions on your team, certainly that one.”
You can apply the same logic to your preparation for your ASIN team. You never know when your star ASIN is going to be out indefinitely, but you can make contingency plans around it. Can you cultivate a new star? How will you make it through a slow season? Trust your system and find new ASINs that fit it well.
Belichick is said to be constantly scouting and researching – when he's working out, during the off season, and every spare moment he can find. But he pays no attention to the mainstream media. He focuses mostly on statistics and reports about players and the teams he is playing.
Take a similar frame of mind when it comes to your industry. Know what is coming up, what the numbers are and how you can take advantage of them.
There are lots of sellers on the Amazon marketplace, just as there have been many head coaches in the NFL. But only a few stand out as being truly exceptional. Take a page from Bill Belichick's book and build a system that works for you!
Originally published on February 3, 2017, updated September 10, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.